Note: A man by the name of Miller, known in the trade as "Syndicator" Miller, operated a mail scam out of New York City, in 1899. He targeted potential victims in Woodstock, Ohio, although there were at least six other scammers working the same territory at the same time. These thieves offered substantial returns on cash investments in their schemes. Miller topped all of them by offering a 520% return on their money!
Gullibility of Human Nature Revealed Again in the Franklin Syndicate
"Syndicator" Miller was not a mere local operator. In all parts of the country persons who think that something can be got for nothing are sitting on the edges of their chairs with their savings in their hands waiting for the swindler to find them. By means of the mails Miller was able to put himself in touch with hundreds of those "silly gillies." For instance, he got upwards of $50,000 out of one village in Ohio - Woodstock. When he began to work that mine of rustic innocence he found no less than half a dozen of his fellow-distributors of "experience" hard at work. They were offering 100 per cent and 200 per cent for money. Miller's supreme contempt for the common sense of the human animal, as shown in his offer of 520 per cent, soon gave him a monopoly.
It is impossible to estimate how many men there are who are growing rich off the folly of their fellow-citizens, or how many millions annually, earned in sweat and strain, are paid over for lessons that teach nothing. Probably the wildest guess would fall far short of the truth. Nor is it possible to protect mankind form itself in this respect.
"How can men be expected to take advice," says Dean Swift, "when they will not even take warning." There is deep-seated conviction in the breast by most of our race that something can not be got for nothing. Some prefer gold bricks. Some are attracted by "green goods." The wheat market has its own following, stock swindling is popular, and sand lots and land under water all have their thousands. Each class of people brays and flops its long ears at the misfortunes of others. And it all goes to make the game of life interesting to the cynical observer.
from the Stark County Democrat (Canton, Ohio) December 1, 1899, page 4